Road trip from San Francisco to seattle

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Dec 28th, 2018, 06:59 PM
  #1
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Road trip from San Francisco to seattle

My husband and I are planning a trip in Mid July fro San Francisco to Seattle. We will be flying into San Francisco and staying two days. Below is a possible travel plan.
Day 1-2- San Francisco
Day 3- Wine Country, Mendocino, Ft Bragg
Day 4- Leggett, Humboldt Redwoods
Day 5-6-Lassen Volcanic National Park
Day 7- Crater National Park
Day 8- Coors Bay
Day 9-Cannon Beach
Day10-11-Hood River and Columbia Gorge
Day 12-13- Seattle
I am also considering going to the upper Seattle areas such as Fork,Port Angeles, etc.. This would have to be instead of Lassen Volcanic or Crater Park.
All suggestions are welcomed and appreciated, including sites, hotels and changes in the above mentioned trip.
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Dec 28th, 2018, 10:22 PM
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Can you explain your logic in flying to San Francisco first? If you fly to Seattle or Portland first and return the car where you rented it, it will avoid a drop fee and make Crater Lake and or Lassen easier to visit.
Driving US 101 southbound is easier than northbound IMO. Someone else recently asked about a similar itinerary and we suggested flying into Sacramento (SMF) since they wanted to go to Lassen NP first.
Driving through San Francisco after flying into SFO is rarely a good idea IMO.
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Dec 29th, 2018, 01:24 AM
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Just quick . . . Lots of other comments, but for now, day 3 is impossible unless you just mean a road trip and not stopping to see much of anything.
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Dec 29th, 2018, 07:12 AM
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A few thoughts. Crater lake is a fantastic place, and do try to do the boat tour there. It is well worth it! The drive from Coos Bay to CB is a minimum of 5 hours, then add in any stops and summer traffic it will be an all day drive. CB is a wonderful town, and has been a family favorite of mine since I was about 5, to give you an idea. The problem you will have is most places require a 2-3 night minimum during high season, but there is a way to possibly get around that. You need to start now, and start calling the hotels directly and try to squeeze in between other peoples reservations. We have done that numerous times, but you need to get on it. If you need personal recommendations, just ask. As much as I love the ONP (we are hikers and backpackers), on your trip I would not try to squeeze this in as you do not have enough time even with cutting the other two places. ONP really needs 3 nights minimum to see most things for a first time visitor. It is not like other parks in many regards. For one thing, the roads are like a bicycle wheel where the roads do not go all the way through, so there is a lot of backtracking. Also, many of the highlights are not right off of 101, so you must make the longer drives. And then some of the best scenery is not seen from the road or parking areas, but rather require hiking. I do highly recommend ONP, but it just doesn't make sense for this trip, unfortunately.
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Dec 29th, 2018, 08:09 AM
  #5
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Thank you both for your information and comments. We were going to fly into San Francisco so we could see it as well as the wine country area. We could leave out San Francisco but would still like to see the Napa Valley area. Maybe fly into Portland instead? Does this plan look any better?
Day 1-2-Seattle
Day 3-4-Hood Rive, Columbia Gorge
Day 5- Cannon Beach
Day 6-7-Coors Beach
Day 8-Crater Lake
Day 9-Lassen National Park
Day 10-11- Humboldt Redwood,Leggett
Day 12- Mendocino or Fort Bragg
Day 13- Sonoma, Sacramento
Day 14- Fly back to Chicago
I checked into renting cars in both the Seattle or Portland area, flying to Sacramento and renting a car to see Sacramento, Sonoma, and Mendocino area but it was more expensive.
We are interested in seeing Seattle but are more interested in seeing some of the coast and nature and less of the big cities. If you have any more ideas for this trip (other sites,different route,motels,etc...) Appreciation all and any help since I know very little about the area.
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Dec 29th, 2018, 10:33 AM
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Crater Lake and Lassen are significant detours from your generally north-south direction of travel. Not sure what days 6-7 mean. Coos Bay? Shore Acres State Park (well worth a visit). By going to CL and Lassen you cheat yourself out of seeing the gorgeous southern Oregon coast.

https://goo.gl/maps/5fh54aV76Q22

https://traveloregon.com/

Oregon Coast Sea Stack Rock Formations
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Dec 29th, 2018, 10:36 AM
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The huge inland zigzag to see Lassen and/or Crater Lake comes at the expense of the central and southern Oregon coast. In my view this is not a good trade; while Crater Lake is certainly lovely, in my view (and I'm cynical, so fair warning) it's a "two hour" national park, vs. the hours and hours of hot and somewhat boring driving to get there and back. East-west roads through the Coast range, Cascades and Sierras in southern Oregon and northern California are very slow going. Like I say, just my view.

Have a look at this imaginary road trip map instead: https://goo.gl/maps/8SepisDK9np

This will (a) save a fortune on car rental - no huge one-way premiums, and (b) substitutes the Willamette Valley and Hood River Valley wineries for those in the Napa/Sonoma area. You'd head southwest from Portland to McMinnville and the various wineries and vineyards in that area. You'd then go south along the Oregon coast all the way to Crescent City, California, then head back inland through the Jedediah Smith redwoods to the Rogue River Valley (maybe stop for a play in Ashland, home of the great Oregon Shakespeare festival?) Then you'd go to Crater Lake, then up US 97 through Bend, with a stop at amazing Smith Rock, then up to the Columbia River. Visit funky Maryhill Museum and the nearby replica of Stonehenge, then travel west down the Columbia to Hood River. There are more high-quality wineries all along the Columbia and into the gorgeous Hood River Valley.

Visit Hood River, drive up to Timberline Lodge on the side of Mount Hood, and maybe take a chairlift up to the permanent ice fields on the side of the big volcano. Continue west through the main part of the Columbia Gorge with its vista points and waterfalls, and end back in Portland.

Here's a Seattle loop that also includes a wide range of landscapes as well as some terrific towns and experiences. https://goo.gl/maps/ynBQzKb3fb42

This would include a loop of Olympic National Park including alpine scenery at Hurricane Ridge, the Hoh rain forest, and one (or more) of the spectacular beaches along the national park's Pacific coastal strip. You'd then continue south, stopping at spectacular Cape Disappointment, then down the Oregon coast with stops at Ecola State Park (Cannon Beach) and south to Yachats ("ya-hots") with more wonderful coastal scenery. You'd then turn inland to the Willamette Valley vineyards, then through the Columbia Gorge to Hood River and Mount Hood. You'd finish the loop by taking US 97 through terrific "old west" country and the Yakama reservation to Yakima, where you'd turn west and visit Mount Rainier National Park before ending back in Seattle. (Note Google maps doesn't show roads through Mt. Rainier if they're currently closed for the winter, but in July you'll be able to to through the park.)

Google these various places to see what appeals. You could, of course, combine these two loops into one, using Seattle or Portland as the start/end points. However it would also mean limiting your time in parts of the trip; Olympic NP needs at least three full days, and anything less than two nights on the Oregon coast is a shame. But if you don't mind a go-go timetable, it's doable. You could also just cut out the Crater Lake part of the Oregon portion and use I-5 from Grants Pass back up to the Willamette Valley, saving a couple of days in the process. Lots of options.

Hoh rain forest



Waikiki Beach, Cape Disappointment



Hood River Valley



Maryhill Stonehenge



Reflection Lakes, Mt. Rainier National Park


Last edited by Gardyloo; Dec 29th, 2018 at 11:02 AM.
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Dec 29th, 2018, 10:46 PM
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Unless you have a real "need" to go to San Francisco, just make a loop through Washington and Oregon and maybe northern CA as far south as Crescent City to see big Coast Redwoods. Seattle or Portland will work well for the loop.
I know of no Coors Beach. Do you mean Coos Bay Including North Bend)? Coos Bay does not face the ocean. Last New Years Eve, I stayed in Coos Bay and went out to Sunset Bay for a 9AM New years swim with about 40 other crazy geocachers
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Dec 30th, 2018, 07:19 AM
  #9
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Thank you for your thoughts and ideas. Glad that you told me about the time factors especially with the ONP area. I will have to rethink this plan.
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Dec 30th, 2018, 07:20 AM
  #10
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Thank you for your route ideas. I will look them over and consider them in planning.
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Dec 30th, 2018, 07:22 AM
  #11
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We just thought that we would like to see San Francisco, but if driving into the city and going up the coast is going to be different, I will reconsider both ideas and maybe start our trip up north. Thank you for your thoughts and ideas.
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Dec 30th, 2018, 07:31 AM
  #12
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Thank you Gardyloo for all your wonderful routes and ideas! You gave me a lot to look at and think about. We are considering flying into Seattle renting a car and traveling down as far as Crescent City to see the Redwoods then heading back up inland to Hood River area. We will be returning the car to Seattle. Not sure about the NP area. I would love to see that area but it might be too much driving and not enough time to enjoy everything.
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Dec 30th, 2018, 08:56 AM
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I'm late to the party (was away over Christmas from Seattle down to Oregon)!

Kathy, to me I see two different/separate trips here. I think that's the "problem". I *LOVE* San Francisco and the Napa Valley and many different places of interest right in that region without traveling too far. Include some of the coastline, and you could easily fly in and spend 10 days just doing that.

And people often (most always) post underestimating just how BIG the PNW is. Takes time to get around, and especially when ferries/waterways get in the picture. So there would be another great trip of at least a couple weeks. Including Seattle, Olympic National Park, Mt St Helen, Mt Rainier, the San Juan islands, etc.

Gardyloo FANTASTIC photos. I live here and you really bring out the beauty of each place. Thank you. ~suze
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Dec 30th, 2018, 09:56 AM
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Thanks for chiming in suze. If you have the time in your vacation, you could leave Seattle on the Amtrak Coast Starlight in the afternoon and be in Sacramento about 6:15AM the next morning. If you consider what a hotel room in Seattle costs, I consider it a bargain if you can sleep in coach.
When i/we take the train to Sacramento, we rent a car downtown and go from there.
Great photos Gardyloo.
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Dec 30th, 2018, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by suze View Post
Gardyloo FANTASTIC photos. I live here and you really bring out the beauty of each place. Thank you. ~suze
Unfortunately, only the Mt. Rainier one is mine, the rest are from the interwebs. I DO have pictures of most of these areas, but some of them were taken in the winter, or are old slides that I've scanned, etc., so I rely on the tourist board people for the A-list.

Kathy450, it's certainly doable to go as far south as Crescent City and return via an inland route. I think it comes down to how many days you want to spend in the various areas. I might suggest that if you're skipping either/both Mt. Rainier or Olympic NP, you could add an additional day in northern California, and go as far south as the Avenue of the Giants, just south of Eureka. That would let you see the pretty villages of Trinidad (north of Eureka) and/or Ferndale (south) rather than staying in Eureka itself. Ferndale is close to the "Lost Coast," the last coastal wilderness area in California, and you can do a nice loop from Ferndale that goes down to the top of the Lost Coast, then goes inland to the Avenue of the Giants before turning back to Ferndale/Eureka. Worth a Google. Map - https://goo.gl/maps/fbSQFrRQ4rG2

Also look at the Samoa Cookhouse in Samoa. Fun place.

Last edited by Gardyloo; Dec 30th, 2018 at 10:07 AM.
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Dec 31st, 2018, 02:41 PM
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We have decided to do the first road loop mentioned by gardyloo but starting and ending in Seattle. We are also adding two days at Mt Rainer for hikinging. Thank you all for your wonderful help and suggestions.
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Dec 31st, 2018, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Kathy450 View Post
We have decided to do the first road loop mentioned by gardyloo but starting and ending in Seattle. We are also adding two days at Mt Rainer for hikinging. Thank you all for your wonderful help and suggestions.
You may or may not have good hiking conditions at Mt. Rainier; some of the trails near the Paradise visitor center still have snow on them until the middle of the month, depending on the year. So far this winter the snowpack at Paradise is slightly below average, but most years there's still six feet or more of snow on the ground as of July 1, and when it's gone things can be muddy. I'd monitor the situation and have a "plan B" in mind. My recommendation for that would be some hikes at lower elevations around Mount Hood or some of the waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge. Access to some of the trails in the Gorge was limited by 2017's big fires, but hopefully everything will be back to snuff by next summer.

I'd book some (refundable) accommodation near Mt. Rainier asap - options are limited and somewhat overpriced.

https://www.nwac.us/weatherdata/paradise/now/

Last edited by Gardyloo; Dec 31st, 2018 at 04:05 PM.
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Jan 1st, 2019, 11:51 AM
  #18
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We won’t be at Mt Rainer till July25th so hopefully hiking will be doable by then. I have booked a nice little cabin in Ashford that is refundable.
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Jan 1st, 2019, 12:43 PM
  #19
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You will be fine by then for hiking. There are some great places in Ashford so it sounds like you are set😊
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Jan 7th, 2019, 12:37 PM
  #20
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Our new plan is below. If you know any interesting sites or see any problems with it please let me know.
Day 1- Fly into Seattle in morning, drive to McMinniville area for lunch and wine tasting. Finish drive to Lincoln City
Stay over night in Lincoln City
Day 2- Drive to Yachats spend the night
Day 3- Drive to Florence for sea Lion Cave (maybe), then drive to Coos Bay , possible see Shore Acres state park,stay over night
Day4- Drive to Crescent City see Jedediah Smith Redwoods, Drive to Eagle Point and stay the night
Day 5-Drive to Crater Lake, maybe drive the rim and boat tour. Drive to La Pine spend the night( no place left at Crater Lake)
Day 6-Drive to Smith Rock state park, then to Maryhill Museum, stay over night in Hood River
Day 7-8- Attractions around Hood River
Day 9- Drive to Ashford spend the night
Day 10-11-Hike Mount Rainer trails
Day 12-14-Drive to Seattle and see the attractions
Day 15- Fly home
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